St Oswald's Church, Sowerby, Thirsk, North Yorkshire

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Annual report 2015

Parochial Church Council of St Oswald's Sowerby
Annual Report for the year ended 31 December 2015

Revd Nicola Carnall

Independent Examiner:
Mr William Pearson ACA, FCCA

Yorkshire Bank

Church Architect:
Linda Lockett until October (then vacant)

Independent Financial Advisor
Ellis Bates Group


Administrative information

St Oswald's Church is situated in Sowerby in North Yorkshire. It is part of the Diocese of York within the Church of England. The correspondence address is: The Vicarage, The Close, Sowerby, Thirsk, North Yorkshire, YO7 1JA.

Members of the Parochial Church Council

Members of the PCC are either ex officio or elected by the Annual Parochial Church Meeting (APCM) in accordance with the Church Representation Rules. In 2015 the APCM was held on 19April.

During the year the following served as members of the PCC:

The Revd Nicola Carnall - Chair
Assistant Curate The Revd Dianne Gamble (from July 2015)

David Tucker (to APCM) - Vice Chair
John Kennedy - Vice Chair from APCM

Deanery Synod:
Gayle Hartley
Sue Binns
Elizabeth Allen

Diocesan Synod:
Chris Carnall

Elected Members:
Pauline Alderson (co-opted to APCM; elected at APCM)
Graham Merriam (co-opted to APCM; elected at APCM) - Treasurer
Cecily Rands (from APCM)
David Tucker (from APCM) - Secretary from APCM
Helen Irving - Secretary to APCM
Emma Benoit
Pat Chapman
Rachel Halkyard
Robin Gillard (until he moved away in September)
David Brooke
Jill Drew
Kath Reynard
Morna Stoakley (co-opted at APCM)
Rebecca O’Driscoll (co-opted at APCM)

Structure, governance and management

The Parochial Church Council (PCC) is a corporate body established by the Church of England. It operates under the Parochial Church Council Powers Measure. The PCC is registered as a separate charity with the Charity Commission.

The method of appointment of PCC members is set out in the Church Representation Rules. All Church attendees are encouraged to register on the Electoral Roll and stand for election to the PCC.

The full PCC meets six times a year or more as needed. This is supported by the Standing Committee, consisting of Vicar, Churchwardens, Treasurer and Secretary. (As we only had one churchwarden after the APCM, our Curate joined the Standing Committee in September.) In addition there are a few working groups which report to PCC. Our Deanery Synod Representatives attend meetings during the year and report back to the PCC.

Objective of the PCC

St Oswald’s PCC works with the Revd Nicola Carnall in promoting in the ecclesiastical parish the whole mission of the church, pastoral, evangelistic, social and ecumenical. The PCC is also responsible for the management and maintenance of Sowerby Parochial Hall. Both the Church and the Parochial Hall are well-used and valued community assets and a base for our service to members of the congregation and wider outreach to the parish as a whole. When planning our activities for the year, we have considered the Charity Commission’s guidance on public benefit and, in particular, the supplementary guidance on charities for the advancement of religion.

Review of the Year

Our Mission
At St Oswald's we try to live out Jesus' call to love God and love our neighbour.

At the annual meeting we had 136 names on the electoral roll. During the year we had 18 baptisms (21 last year), 8 weddings (same as last year) and 32 funerals (23 last year). This includes 4 funeral services held wholly at the crematorium.

Average Sunday attendance in 2015 was 68 adults and 6 children – the same as the previous year. Sadly we lost around 10 regular attenders during the year because of house moves, illness and death. We miss each one of these people. However, we rejoice that several new people have joined the regular worshiping congregation and we are enjoying the contribution they make to our shared life. It should be noted that the average attendance figure does not include special services where the attendance is often much higher. Also, we do a lot of valuable work with children, young people and families on different days of the week (see below) – some of which is not primarily worship, and some is not on Sundays, so it is not included in the Sunday attendance figures.

Children, Young People and Families
Pauline Alderson continued in the half-time post of Children & Young People’s Development Worker. Pauline works closely with committed volunteers from St Oswald’s, as well as Sowerby Methodist Church and St Mary’s, Thirsk. Many of the activities referred to below are run jointly with Sowerby Methodist Church.

During the year, the CandY steering group ran a funding campaign, encouraging church members and others to give regularly to ensure that the post of CandY Worker can continue. This was very successful and was also helped by a generous contribution from the Methodist Circuit. Encouraging people (including baptism congregations) to support CandY by text-giving did not achieve the desired result.

Messy Church, which meets approximately every six weeks in the Parochial Hall, continues to flourish with new and regular families enjoying the crafts, worship and shared meal. An evaluation carried out during the year showed that it is much appreciated by local families.

‘Open the Book’ assemblies continue at Sowerby Community Primary School and Sessay CE Primary School four times a term. The team present a dramatized Bible story, followed by a time of reflection and a song.

Kids’ Club continues to meet during 10.30am Sunday services. Youth Groups continue to meet fortnightly on Sunday evenings. First Friday continues once a month. Pram Service for pre-school children and parents/carers, meets monthly on Friday lunchtimes.

Special events for children and young people this year have included a Youth Café, a Holiday Club (Commotion under the Ocean), Snap Apple Night (alternative Halloween event), Big Night Out at Lightwater Valley, and Spree camp at Hollybush. In addition the Youth Group put on a Youth Café for parents and church members.

For the second year running several members of the Youth Group went with a leader to Mexico with the charity Urban Saints during the Easter holidays. This Rebuild project involved building a house for a Mexican family in need. The young people and their leaders spent a lot of time fundraising before the trip. On their return the team shared their stories with many different audiences.

Sowerby CP School held their Easter, Harvest and Christmas services in church again this year.

The all age community choir rehearsed together again in 2015 and sang at both the Mothering Sunday and Christingle services.

The PCC approved an updated Child Protection Policy (to be used in all 5 parishes) at its meeting in May and Elizabeth Allen was reappointed as our Safeguarding Officer.

Worship, Study, Prayer & Fellowship
The pattern of Sunday services continued unchanged during the year with a communion service at St Oswald’s each Sunday, either at 8.30am or at 10.30am. There is also a communion service every Wednesday morning. The other Sunday services are non-Eucharistic with Early Worship at 8.30am, either Morning Prayer or Worship for All at 10.30am, and Evening Prayer (either at St Oswald’s or at the Methodist Church) at 6.30pm. We have continued with Worship for All on the third Sunday of each month instead of the first and there have been regular reviews of this service for all ages during the year. Joint services for the plurality are held four or five times a year, usually on fifth Sundays.

Groups for Bible study and fellowship continued to meet regularly during the year, with two new groups aimed at people from all 5 parishes starting in September. In addition there were special courses in Lent and Advent, and the Quiet Spaces group met monthly for prayer and reflection during most of the year.

Informal Evening Prayer continues to take place before PCC meetings. Mothers’ Union branch meetings include prayer and worship as well as fellowship. In January a group began meeting on Tuesdays at 8am to pray specifically for the church’s work with children, young people and families. Celtic Evening Prayer is offered once a month in Kilburn Vicarage.

Mission & Giving
Many members of St Oswald’s were involved in collecting during Christian Aid Week. In addition our Harvest collection went to Christian Aid for their work with refugees and our Christmas Eve collections supported Christian Aid’s Christmas Appeal.

We continued to support Jigsaw Kids Ministries in the Philippines through regular gifts to CMS (to support their mission partner Tim Lee) and to Jigsaw. In addition a Garden Party was held in August to support Jigsaw and to meet Lendehl Salliedeo, an Anglican clergyman who is the Vice President of Jigsaw and has a hands-on ministry with the Jigsaw team. A fundraising coffee morning for Jigsaw was also held in Kilburn.

St Oswald’s has continued its support of The Clock in its work with local young people by collecting food at Harvest and Christmas. The collection from our All Souls service in November was sent to Herriot Hospice Homecare. Many shoeboxes of gifts were given by church members for Operation Christmas Child and we supported the Children’s Society through our Christingle service. Church Army was supported via the church Christmas card.

We again gave a donation to the Family Life Church to help with the lunch they were organising for people on their own on Christmas Day. We continue to have a Traidcraft stall in church most Sunday mornings. Many funeral collections are shared with a charity chosen by the family.

Church Buildings and Churchyard
Our Church building is used by a variety of groups for visits, services etc, as well as for regular worship. We continue our strong link with Sowerby Music and several other concerts were also held in church during the year.

The Quinquennial Inspection report was received in January 2015. The following is a quote from it: “The churchwardens have worked hard over the past 8 years to bring the fabric of the building into a very good state of repair. They keep the building well maintained and have a maintenance contract with a local contractor to keep the gutters and roof clear of leaves. Many of the repair items picked up in the QI have already been noted by the churchwardens and repairs are in hand.”

During the year the following was achieved:
• Installation of new audio-visual equipment and loop system
• Installation of new noticeboards at the back of the church (thanks to Graham for making these)
• Repair of the floor near the organ
• Purchase of new bell ropes
• Resolution of the problems with the automatic opening system for the north door
• Installation of a mortice lock on the south transept door

In addition, we made good use of the new on-line faculty application system, ready for projects to be undertaken in 2016.

The church flagpole broke during the year and the PCC decided not to replace it because of the high cost.

The Parochial Hall continues to be well used by the wider community and well managed by the Parochial Hall Management Group. The 100 club monthly draws to support the Parochial Hall began in January 2015 and have proved popular. The hall was redecorated and the floor refurbished during the year.

Huge thanks are due to all those members of the church family who have contributed to the running of the Church and its various strands in 2015.

The accounts show that income derived from the regular congregation and Gift Aid recovery amounted to £50,376 (2014 - £49,454). This amount has remained pretty constant for the past 3 years - people ceasing to give for whatever reason seem to be balanced by increased individual donations or new donors.

This is only part of the picture. We had two successful appeals during the year. The first was to endeavour to raise the money from a wider audience than usual to support the work that is done by the Children and Youth team. A substantial donation from Sowerby Methodists and great generosity from a number of people has ensured a recurring annual equivalent of £8,500 against the costs of £11,000 thus releasing reserves that we have held back for that purpose. Our second appeal was for £5000 to assist in the purchase of the new Audio Visual system. This sum was raised – total cost of the system was approximately £12,500.

Total income from all sources was £131,369 (2014 - £103,777) reflecting these appeals and a much increased level of income from fees. Our Freewill Offering to the Diocese was £50,000 (2014 - £50,000). Other expenses and income remain consistent and in line with previous years.

We realised part of the investment portfolio to assist in the purchase of the Audio Visual system and the year-end balance was £81,035 (2014 - £93,876). Part of the reduction was due to the fall in Stock Market values experienced around the end of the year.

As ever, the PCC is extremely grateful for all contributions however they may arise.

The Events Group organised a Parish Lunch in February, a Daffodil Festival with photo competition on Easter Sunday and Monday, and Coffee, Cakes & Crafts in November.

A 5 parishes walk was enjoyed in May and a Hustings organised by Churches Together was held in St Oswald’s in April prior to the General Election.

Pastoral Care
Eucharistic ministers continue to take communion to people in their own homes, as well as Sowerby House, The Limes and Meadowfields. The Lunch Club continued to provide a cooked meal for older local people on a monthly basis. A monthly Coffee Hour for people on their own or carers is appreciated by those who attend. The Get Together Club continues to bring together the more elderly members of the community for social activities every week. The email Prayer Circle is used and appreciated.

The church website is an excellent up-to-date source of information about the church and it is well used by church members and many others. The monthly Saints Alive magazine and weekly notice sheets are also used for sharing of news and information amongst church members. The church also has a Facebook page, and there is now a Facebook page for the 5 parishes.

Jayne Molyneux continues as part-time Administrator for the 5 parishes. She works in the office at St Oswald’s on Friday mornings.

Developing ministry
At St Oswald’s we remain committed to helping people explore their calling to all kinds of ministry and service. David Brooke continues his training for Reader ministry. In March Helen Irving was commissioned as a Recognised Parish Assistant (RPA) focusing on Mission, and in December Cecily Rands was commissioned as an RPA focusing on Pastoral Care. Both had completed training within the Diocese. In July Dianne Gamble was ordained deacon in York Minster and began her ministry as a full-time Curate within our group of parishes. David Tucker stood down as churchwarden after 6 years in the role. We are very grateful for all he has contributed. We were not able to find a new churchwarden, so John Kennedy continued on his own. It is clear that this is a role we need to equip more church members to take on.

Links with Sowerby Methodist Church remain strong and regular meetings are held to plan our many joint events and services. As previously mentioned, much of our children’s work is done together. Two new representatives from St Oswald’s joined the local Churches Together Committee in 2015. Church members continue to take part in events and services planned by the group throughout the year.

Grateful thanks are expressed to all at St Oswald’s who work so hard and with so much dedication for the benefit of the church and wider community. May we continue to love God and our neighbours near and far as we seek to serve Christ in this place.

Approved by the PCC on 16 March 2016 and signed on their behalf.
The Revd Nicola Carnall
Vicar and Chair of PCC

Annual accounts 2015 (PDF file)

Annual reports since 2004

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Registered charity number 1135485.